Panthers: After fine, is the Richardson case closed?
Former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson received a hefty fine from the NFL following their investigation…
The Carolina Panthers were in a battle for the playoffs and their division title when allegations against then-owner Jerry Richardson surfaced. Days after the initial reports became public knowledge, Carolina announced their own investigation into the rumors, which was almost immediately taken over by the league itself.
The NFL hired former United States attorney, Mary Jo White, to handle the investigation and after months of cooperation between the franchise and league, it appears the case is closed with Richardson receiving a $2.75 million fine for his sexual and racial misconduct as owner of the Panthers.
A Sports Illustrated report published last December brought attention to the manner in which Richardson treated his female employees and unearthed some nondisclosure agreements settled between a few former employees and the organization.
Payments were made to certain individuals and went unreported to the NFL, adding to the substantiated evidence from White’s report. Her findings indicated three claims of sexual harassment and the use of a racial slur in support of truthfulness behind many of the initially shocking and questionable rumors.
These results indicate Richardson acted inappropriately, used money to quiet his victims and then kept everything from the NFL for quite some time. Having recently sold a majority stake of the franchise to new owner David Tepper for a record price, approximately $2.2 Billion, the fine apparently ends any NFL involvement but could generate other issues.
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Not many details were released surrounding investigation results other than the fine and a recommendation from White that the league prohibit implementing nondisclosure agreements between teams and workers. More details may follow in addition to other legal implications.
Both the Panthers and Richardson could be subject to future legal action depending on the condition of the NDA’s (nondisclosure agreements) and whether or not either party has violated the terms of these agreements through the course of investigation or comments made between Richardson and league owners.
Richardson performed his final act as owner during the May meetings with a vote of affirmation for potential incumbent David Tepper. A change at the top is the first for Carolina which has enjoyed a substantial amount of success in a relatively brief period.
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If anything further occurs to dampen the optimism surrounding this season, it will be met with the same resilience displayed all offseason. Carolina has undergone a significant amount of change both on and off the field but expectations remain high.